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Retail: Tips for Reducing Recruitment Costs - Whitepaper

Increase Your Hiring Performance while Decreasing Cost-to-Fill

Recruiting in retail presents some pretty big challenges compared to other industries. Known for seasonal hiring increases and high turnover, the retail recruiter’s job is certainly not easy. Stacks of resumes pile in and recruiters struggle to find the best possible candidate in the shortest amount of time. At times, the process can seem overwhelming, disorganized, and just plain messy. Ultimately, that disorganization drives up your business’ cost-per-hire that squeezes valuable time and resources away from important projects.

The following will address different ways recruiters can improve their processes in order to drive down cost-per-hire and increase the number of quality candidates produced by their recruiting efforts.

Challenges Faced by Recruiters

Tracking Applicants and Resumes

Gone are the days when email folders and filing cabinets could be considered viable systems for searching and screening candidates. The war for top talent is becoming increasingly competitive, and losing qualified candidates in paper piles is one preventable way retailers fall behind. Moreover, manually tracking jobs applicants, resumes, skills, etc. is needless time expenditure, and you know the old adage: “Time is money”.

With a recruitment technology, automate the manual processes and ensure that quality resumes won’t get lost in the shuffle. Applicant tracking software eliminates duplicate records for improved candidate tracking as well as providing application history and skills summaries to better determine candidate qualification. Within this organized process, recruiters are able to efficiently identify and notify qualified candidates of positions within the organization as well maintain a database of candidate data for future use in one centralized location.


Increasingly, retailers are turning to sourcing as a means of proactive recruiting in order to speed time-to-fill and reduce recruiting costs. Today, recruiters must constantly and proactively develop a pool of warm, qualified candidates from which they can draw as the need arises.

Once you find these candidates, you must engage them, network with them, and educate them about your employment brand. In this day and age, few candidates will turn down an opportunity to network with those who have the ability to further their career.

To improve sourcing and speeding up time-to-fill, recruiters are starting to view sourcing through a marketing lens. For years, sales and marketing professionals have used CRM software (Customer Relationship Management) to build and nurture relationships with sales prospects. Now, just like sales and marketing professionals, recruitment professionals need to build and nurture candidate relationships with the help of a Talent CRM (Candidate Relationship Management). As today’s recruiters struggle to hire the best candidates, recruiters are turning into marketing professionals as they “sell” their company’s employment brand in an attempt to attract the best talent.

Candidate Experience

One of the great things about being a retail recruiter is that many of your applicants are your company’s biggest fans. Therefore, you will want to create positive experiences for your applicants and new-hires. Long, tedious online application processes can result in an unpleasant candidate experience, and even become a negative reflection on your brand.

To ensure that candidates have a positive experience, a recruitment technology can pre-populate information from a candidate’s resumes, avoiding redundant and time-consuming manual data entry. Building relationships with candidates also foster a positive experience. With a technology, you can maintain, personalize, and keep track of all communications between you and your candidates.

Onboarding New-Hires

Automation should not stop after the candidate has accepted the job offer. Onboarding plays an important part in fostering new-hire productivity; and for retail organizations that are often plagued with lengthy onboarding processes, new hire engagement and productivity remains a challenge.

Many of the most successful organizations have automated their onboarding programs to streamline operations and increase return-on-investment. The software used to automate onboarding programs helps to reduce costs, while improving employee retention and productivity in the long run.

For example, an automated onboarding program eliminates reliance on paper documents through an employee onboarding system, a comprehensive and easily accessible location to store the documents necessary for the entire onboarding process. This gives new hires the opportunity to access information when they need it, placing critical documents at their fingertips even before their first day of work.

In addition to this, automated onboarding programs provide companies with many qualitative benefits, such as:

  • Improved New Hire Engagement: Tailoring the new hire experience to the employee’s job, department, location, etc. helps new hires acclimate to the corporate culture and procedures early. Fully branded New Hire onboarding Portals allow for streamlined communication of company benefits and business objectives engaging employees in the business before they start working.
  • Enhanced Human Resources (HR) Productivity: Automation streamlines processes, helping the HR department to regain productivity, and eliminate oversights. Reporting and metrics give HR a direct view into tasks that require completion and bridges the gap between departments involved in the onboarding process.
  • Increased New Hire Productivity: New employees are able to hit the ground running on day one with early exposure to important information and the opportunity to complete paperwork online.
  • Increased Retention Rates: Task management tools help to ensure new hires are equipped with the tools needed to succeed. Provide a window into your culture, assuring new hires feel they are a part of the larger organization.
  • Task Management and Process Improvement: Using system reporting capabilities, users can generate reports that expose bottlenecks in key processes. This allows users to measure key performance indicators (KPIs), ensure important elements are not missed while identifying areas that may benefit from process improvement.
Reporting and Analytics

Three out of four organizations admit that they are not adequately measuring the success of their recruitment processes. Some of the more difficult tasks for retail businesses include determining which recruiting methods are working, which are lacking, what methods produce the greatest return on investment, which processes are resulting in costly bottlenecks, and what these metrics mean for the future. Without a high-quality centralized reporting system, reducing costs with process improvements is virtually impossible.

The best talent acquisition systems will provide flexible reporting capabilities including industry standard reports such as cost-per-hire and time-to-fill, and source effectiveness reports. These types of reports help your organization identify and improve allocation of recruitment resources. Further, advanced reporting can automate many compliance requirements such as EEO/OFCCP tracking.

The Ultimate Recruitment Technology Checklist!

We’ve identified the unique challenges within the retail industry and how a recruitment technology can help optimize your hiring performance. The following checklist includes important features that you should look for when choosing a recruitment technology.

1) Support

The most essential element in ensuring your company has an ideal customer experience is support. A superior vendor will offer a product expert to work directly with you to ensure that the first, critical phase (software implementation) is handled professionally, on time, and to your satisfaction. After implementation, a team member (accustomed to your companies unique business needs) should be readily available to oversee your account with a single goal in mind: 100% Customer Satisfaction. The final tier should include a support expert, available 24 hours a day Monday through Friday, to answer your questions and concerns. Whether it's through a toll-free 800 number or by email, your vendor should guarantee direct access to a member of their team on the first call and in real time. Truly complete customer service should also consist of alternative sources for customer assistance including free training, weekly webinars, onsite training, video library training, and more. Furthermore, training offerings need also be not straight off-the-shelf, but rather should be tailored around each organization's unique needs and preferences. In the end, every size company should benefit from unlimited access to enterprise- level support.

2) Ability to Grow

One of the defining characteristics of any company, regardless of industry, is its' likelihood to expand. Naturally, you would want your vendor of choice to do the same. The ability for your talent acquisition system to grow as your company expands is one of the most crucial decision making elements.

Look for a Talent Acquisition Software that provides inherent scalability where you can easily enhance your platform without purchasing, implementing, or training users on additional or new systems. The right Talent Platform will not require you to buy additional modules, migrate to new databases, or pay premium prices for customer support if your business expands.

3) Ease of Use

Having a system that is easy to use is a cornerstone of all products. What good is a software solution if it's too difficult to use? While it's easy for any vendor to claim that their platform is easy to use, take a look at some other indicators. Has the company won any awards for the ease of use of their platform? How's their customer satisfaction rating? What about their client retention rate? Many vendors will also include case studies featuring customer success stories. Take a look at these and see what other companies are saying about the system.

4) Speed and Security

Talent Acquisition Software is only as effective as your ability to have 24/7/365 access to it. Find the system availability statistics on the vendor's website — an ideal system will offer near perfect rates. Moreover, a Talent Platform should constantly be enhancing the way data is accessed and delivered to its' end-users, thus the vendor should be improving delivery options upon each new release.

In addition, businesses can greatly benefit from a platform that operates via Software as a Service (SaaS). Advantages include no installations as well as the relief of numerous burdens including support, maintenance, and upgrades from the end-customer.

Data security is a vital component to any successful outsourced application hosting service. Look for HR Software that securely stores information remotely as well as backs up all of its' data daily as part of a protocol for disaster recovery.

5) Value

When an organization is considering a Talent Acquisition Software, the crucial deciding factor can be the price to value ratio. To get the best value, greatest ROI, and perfect fit for your company, it's critical to consider the importance of the following attributes:

Choosing Talent Acquisition Software that operates on a single-platform is one of the most valuable, cost efficient decisions an organization can make. A one-stop solution that enables the management of the entire talent life cycle through one single-source solution eliminates the need for companies to ever purchase and maintain multiple solutions. Because businesses are constantly growing, a provider that doesn't require clients to buy additional modules or costly add-ons can offer a long term advantage.

Look for scalable software that can be configured according to your company's unique hiring management processes as well as capable of accommodating your evolving needs as your organization expands or processes change. These attributes will ultimately provide a greater value to your companies' needs.

As we've mentioned before, customer support is a key essential for Talent Acquisition Software. When combined with the convenience of a single platform as well as the software's inherent scalability & configurability, it creates an overwhelming value for your company. Therefore, avoid software that offers its' customer support at different levels for different prices.

Your organization should not be considered "less than", nor should you have to pay premium price for customer support as your company expands.

When these three fundamentals are offered from one vendor, they create an ultimate added value to the Talent Acquisition Software. Accordingly, these attributes are vital assets to an organization that is constantly growing and changing.

How iCIMS can Help

iCIMS is the leading provider of talent acquisition solutions that help businesses win the war for top talent. iCIMS empowers companies to manage their entire hiring process within the industry’s most robust Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Built on the foundation of a best-to-market talent acquisition software suite, iCIMS’ PaaS framework, UNIFi, allows employers to expand the capabilities of their core talent acquisition technology by integrating with the largest partner ecosystem in talent acquisition to help them attract, find, screen, and manage candidates. Offering scalable, easy-to-use solutions that are backed by award-winning customer service, iCIMS supports more than 3,500 contracted customers and is one of the largest and fastest-growing talent acquisition solution providers.

To learn more about the iCIMS, call 1-800-889-4422 or take a look at our demo.